Ain-i-Akbari and Akbar Namah are the two books which throw light on the life and culture of the people during the Mughal period.
The following are the different aspects of rural India during the Mughal Period.
a. The inhabitants of the forests were called as Janglis whose livelihood was based on the forest produce.
b. They were civilised and had adopted season specific practices.
c. The Bhils collected forest produce in the spring, hunted during the months of winter and did fishing during the summer months.
d. The trade practices of the tribes were described by Abul Fazl, who was a minster in the court of Akbar.
e. The tribes had trade relations with the villagers of Awadh. Cotton and silk cloth, salt, ornaments were exchanged for the forest produce. Honey, bee wax and gum were also sold.
f. Sedentary agriculture also expanded. Commercial and staple crops were grown.
g. New methods of cultivation were adopted and irrigation was done through canals and reservoirs.
h. Khud-kashta and Pahi-kashta were the two types of peasants who lived during this period. The villages were administered by local panchayats.
i. There was heterogenous population in the villages and people belonging to different castes lived.
Thus, it is seen that forest produce and agriculture were the main source of livelihood for the rural population during the Mughal period.
Ain-i-Akbari and Akbar Nama are the two main sources that give us information about the Mughal Period. Abul Fazl, one of the nine gems in the court of Akbar’s empire, wrote these books.
1. Ain-i-Akbari gives detailed information about the social, political, economic and cultural aspects of the people who lived during the Mughal period.
2. The structure and organisational hierarchy of the Mughal period can be known much better.
3. Ain-i-Akbari contains more information on the empire and people rather than limiting itself only to wars, politics etc., and thus it can be said that it is an entirely different source of history.
4. It is the most trusted source of evidence on the agrarian relations.
5. It gives us a glimpse of people, their occupation, trade and commerce and also the imperial establishment of the empire.
6. The different wings of the empire like the army, administration, sources of revenue and the physical extent of the empire is also discussed.
7. Out of the five books, the first three books explain about the administration whereas the other two books describe about the religions.
8. The first three books are called manzil-abadi, sipah-abadi and mulk-abadi.
9. Intricate information about the culture, tradition is also given.
However, the following can be said as the limitations of the books:
a. It is felt that the data is not collected from all the provinces.
b. Data pertaining to prices and wages are mainly from the province of Agra.
c. Information relating to the richer areas are not available.
d. The quantitative data is inaccurate.
Thus, it can be said that despite the limitations, Ain-i-Akbari serves as the main source of evidence of the Mughal era.
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